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Forerunners of the Romans. II.

  • D. Randall-MacIver

At the date of about 1000 B.c., that is to say a little after the A beginning of the Iron Age and two centuries before any effective colonization by the Etruscans coming from Asia Minor, northern and central Italy may be partitioned into five distinct spheres of civilization. For convenience of treatment I shall assume that each of these spheres represents a comparatively homogeneous people, passing over the question whether there may not have been submerged minorities of some local importance. And I shall give each of these five peoples, or nations as they may not unfairly be called, a conventional name of geographic derivation, to avoid the endless and futile controversies as to tribal nomenclature. As the accompanying map therefore will show the north-west is occupied by the Comacines, part of Venetia by the Atestines, the Bolognese region by the northern Villanovans, Tuscany and part of Latium by the southern Villanovans. East of the Apennines, from Rimini to Aufidena, the Adriatic coast and the central Apennines were held by the Picenes, who must be understood for this purpose to include some of the tribes known to history as Samnites in addition to a small number of Umbrians. The first four of these nations were related by more or less close ties of kinship and practised the same burial rite of cremation, but the Picenes were of wholly different origin and used only the rite of inhumation. Of the Ligurians, occasionally mentioned by classical writers as occupying the coast of the Italian Riviera, it is impossible to say anything as they have left no remains by which their civilization in the Iron Age can be judged.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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